A famous front cover of The Economist in 2017 declared that the 'world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.' The value of data has indeed increased significantly. Organizations rely on data and data analytics for almost every facet of their operations and use it to make insightful decisions to help move the business forward.
Many have invested in the tools and solutions - AI, CRM, analytics - that enable them to get the most value possible from this data. But as data has grown in importance and value, it has attracted the attention of cybercriminals. The consequences of a data breach have become much more significant, and cybercriminals have become more professional and focused.
Organizations have had to increase the cybersecurity measures they put in place to keep data safe and secure. Consequently, cybersecurity solutions are more widely deployed, and data protection measures are prioritized more than ever.
Can any organization really expect to be successful in modern business without the requisite cybersecurity and data protection?
The importance of cybersecurity
Cybersecurity does incorporate elements of data protection, but both are distinct from each other and should work together in harmony to keep an organization (and its data) secure. Cybersecurity is mainly used to protect networks and systems against cyber-attacks, which vary in style and intent.
Some attacks are used to access or steal sensitive information and hold an organization to ransom. Others attempt to disrupt or halt day-to-day business operations. Any organization focused on cybersecurity should provide multiple layers of protection - email security solutions, web security solutions, and much more – ensuring that networks, computers, servers, and data are kept secure.
Organizations that take cybersecurity especially seriously will use advanced threat protection to add an extra layer of inspection to detect and sanitize embedded malware threats in real-time. Successful cybersecurity is about a combination of people, processes, and technology.
The importance of data protection
Data protection is no less important than cybersecurity. It refers to the strategy and measures an organization puts in place to protect and safeguard sensitive data from breaches. Organizations do this to mitigate against a data breach and also to comply with regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA.
Effective data protection keeps data safe but also makes it is available. It includes technology solutions such as data backup and business continuity and ensures that users can access data whenever they need it, whether for operational or data compliance requirements.
As the threats to data are so many, some organizations turn to data loss prevention (DLP) to really safeguard their business-critical data. DLP minimizes the risk to the organization by detecting and preventing unauthorized disclosures before the data breach even occurs.
Data protection and cybersecurity in harness
It’s no coincidence that organizations which harness both data protection and cybersecurity feel more secure against malicious attacks and data breaches. While cybersecurity is generally seen as a more technical discipline and data protection related to data access and management, both strategies complement each other.
Any organization that implements data protection measures will significantly enhance its cybersecurity in the process. Likewise, cybersecurity can play a crucial role in protecting any critical and sensitive data.
It’s an integrated approach that delivers on all counts – access to data and compliance with regulation, maintaining defenses against cyber-attack, and data protection. Without this, can any organization hope to be successful?
The damage to a business from cybersecurity or data protection failures can be hard to quantify, especially in the short term. But trust is an essential quality in business. Any organization suffering a cyber-attack because of a lack of defenses can be sure that at least some of that trust will be eroded.
It might not mean that customers go elsewhere immediately, but it could make them think hard when it is time to renew a service, for example. It could also put off any potential new customers – who would want to put their trust (and data) in the hands of a brand that does not seem to have the requisite data protection or cybersecurity?
It is a similar situation with business partners, investors, and affiliates. 2020 Fortra research with CISOs in global banks revealed that weakness in the supply chain was the cybersecurity challenge with the potential to cause the most damage. Supply chains are so interconnected in modern business that were an organization’s cybersecurity found to be wanting, it would be a less attractive proposition than one that took cybersecurity and data protection seriously.
A focused strategy for cybersecurity and data protection also helps an organization with digital transformation projects. Digital transformation has been accelerated since the pandemic, and organizations globally are switching to digital methods of delivering services, migrating applications to the cloud, and overhauling legacy back-end systems. Doing so is becoming essential to business success, yet approaching such transformation with robust cybersecurity could jeopardize the entire project.